U.S. and Russia work together to assist Russians with disabilities find employment
News, May 29 2012
Lori Golden and the U.S. Business Leadership Network have shown impressive leadership on this issue through programs that help people with disabilities find meaningful employment. USAID has also done a fantastic job in partnership with the Russian NGO Perspektiva to bring Russian society and business together to identify creative solutions to this pressing problem.
Since 1997, Perspektiva has assisted people with disabilities in more than 26 Russian cities, and it reaches an additional 10 cities through the use of web-based technologies. Perspektiva helps people with disabilities to acquire new skills so they can live independently and become fully participating members of society.
USAID has provided funding to help Perspektiva advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, provide services for disabled youths, organize youth community service activities, and raise awareness in the community about disability issues. Perspektiva also advocated strongly for Russia’s adoption of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was signed into law earlier this month.
Through the Americans for Disabilities Act, passed two decades ago, the U.S. Congress mandated reasonable accommodation for the disabled. Equally as important, the U.S. government has worked together with the U.S. business community to change attitudes towards a once stigmatized community.
In the Russian Federation today, nearly one in ten citizens lives with a disability. They are our family members and friends, neighbors and colleagues, and business and civic leaders.
In Russia and in the United States, people with disabilities have the same employment rights as others, and businesses and societies as a whole benefit when people with disabilities have the same opportunity to contribute as employees.
It is inspiring to see government, business and civil society working together to create a more inclusive workplace and a more tolerant society.